Georgia Jewel 100k
So I will begin this redacted race report with the caveat that both Johnny Clemons & Owen Bradley’s takes should be read first, as they both provide spot-on assessments of the course. My Rock/Creek teammates exhibited much more common sense in opting for the 50k as opposed to the 100k version of this race.
And so my day was much, very much longer than theirs—as I completed four of these ‘unique’ loops. It being a 100k for me, I ran at a more reserved pace, as evidenced by the fact that the aforementioned goats that chased my teammates were sprawled in the grass lazily staring at me as I strolled by.
I can only presume that they were winded from trying to catch Johnny and Owen.
This course had to be seen to be believed, not only for its beautiful pastoral setting, but for its wildly brazen character. The first 5 mile section was literally a bulldozed track of loose dirt and rock that, well, “bulldozed” directly up, over, and down a series of hills—“dozer-trail running” at its best. The large sections of forest floor charred by prescribed burns, dusty and black, smattered with charred curls of barbed wire, juxtaposed nicely to the long sections of random “forest-running”, trail-less, through thick stands of hardwoods, briars, crotch-high saplings, and spider-webs. Then there was the “pasture-running” through thigh-high grasses, brilliant red clover, and cow-pies. All interspersed with stream crossings and the most underestimated elevation gain I’ve ever seen.
What, in theory, was to be a relatively simple day just logging some miles quickly eroded into a slogfest of just having the will to continue repeating these loops that were becoming somewhat reminiscent of an estranged setting in a Cormac McCarthy novel. After completing the first two laps in a respectable 5 hrs 35 min, the final two took roughly 7 hrs 59 min. 35 minutes of which was contemplating the merits of dropping out back at the “House” Aid Station after the fourth 5 mile “dozer” loop—with only 12.5 miles to go…I have never dropped from a race before and this was the closest I have ever come to having that feral monkey off my back.
In fact that monkey had all but taken his shoes off before veteran hundred-miler and Super-race-director-turned-torture-artist Karen Pearson insisted I continue. The only way I would move again would be with that one food that no one in their right mind ever eats unless it is during an obscenely long ultra: RAMEN. That priceless, pure liquid salt foodstuff that turns even the most decomposed zombies into fully-fleshed and spry vegans. And that it did… Karen (who did and awesome job as RD) personally cooked me up a cup and after I was able to run the final 12.5 in a tight 2 hours and 15 minutes for a 7th place finish of 13:34:30, and another sweet buckle.
Again, congratulations to my Rock/Creek teammates Johnny Clemons, Owen Bradley, and Natalie Sims for their strong finishes on such an “unsuspectingly hard” 50k as well as props to course companions, Michael Scherzer and Robert Lewellen, for their 100k finishes—who are more than ready to represent the Peach state at Western States after conquering this course.
Also of note:
Female participant at finish of 50k: “I kept seeing this guy running and every time I saw him he was carrying some different kind of feather or even some deer antlers! I’m surprised he didn’t find the turtle shell on the stump.”
My wife: “Yeah …that was probably my husband. He doesn’t just race…”
And I was the one that placed the shell on the stump. In retrospect, an awesome day!
Rock/Creek Race Team Patagonia Air Flow Tank
2010 Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts (w/ zip pockets)
New Balance MT110 (sockless)
1 Ultimate Direction Handheld
Honey Stinger Energy Chews
3 Chocolate Ensures
1 Cup of Ramen
2 Turkey feathers
1 Red-Tail hawk feather
1 5-point antler!
1 unfortunately-burnt whole Box turtle shell
My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves/Evil Urges
Led Zeppelin, Mothership (Remastered)
Massive Attack, Mezzanine